Monday, May 21, 2018

weekly theme :: Chinese Element WOOD - Practicing Forgiveness

wood forgiveness

This week, we explore one of the 5 Chinese Elements: "WOOD".  

We do this by discussing and practicing Forgiveness.

Author: Sifu Matthew Carver based on Ryan Thompson's take on "Forgiveness"

Forgiveness is not giving up nor is it admitting defeat

Forgiveness is about taking power back and making a conscious decision to let go of resentments, pain, and anger. Some people are not ready to forgive and rightly so, what about victims of sexual assault and violence as well as people who have suffered physical, emotional abuse, and unearned shame? Is it not appropriate to feel rage or become victimized due to events that have happened directly or indirectly to us? 

We can become consumed by our suffering and have our whole worldview including our biases and attitude be controlled by our suffering and resentments. When we look objectively at how our resentments have power over us we can see how we engage in belittling ourselves and in turn increase our own self-loathing and even convince ourselves we deserve it, or we act upon anger and allow it to dominate our actions and perceptions of the world.

It is about making a personal statement

Forgiveness can begin the process of emotionally disconnecting ourselves from the events and pain that we have used to define us. Forgiveness is not about forgetting or even making a statement that what happened to create the resentment is acceptable, it is about making a personal statement that one does not want to be emotionally controlled by the events, memories, and perception of self that resentments create.

There are many ways to forgive

Some clients are ready to forgive, and we can foster that by asking the question and helping the client find the answer to; how. There are many ways to forgive and the least of all is giving the terrible advice of “Just let this go.” Well, How? How do people “let go” how do people forgive? For some it is a mere acknowledging that the incident(s) occurred, facing the emotions that arise and stating forgiveness. 

Others need rituals or prayer to assist in maintaining the intention of forgiveness. Forgiveness can act like the tide of the ocean or the changing moon and our resentments can creep back in, even after we have made the conscious decision to forgive. In this case, one needs to repeat the action of forgiveness and take a little more power back until the resentment has eventually been drained and the individual is free from that resentment.

It is our job to help foster forgiveness...

...and more importantly to help the client answer the question of how to forgive. It is also not our job to push someone to forgive when they are not ready as those individuals may still need to be further defined or come to a better understanding or acknowledge lessons to be learned from the experience before they become willing and ready to forgive. Even if that lesson is to realize how much damage and influence these resentments have had in our lives, and then we can pose the question

“Are you ready to let this go?”

Call or contact Zen Recovery Path. Our community welcomes a fresh start. Recovery will be inspired by Clinical and Holistic Therapies such as; Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group, EMDR and Movie with Meaning therapies.
126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

(800) 759-1930

Monday, May 7, 2018

weekly theme :: BOUNDARIES

earth 5 elements

Author: Sifu Matthew Carver

EARTH - We are bound to it

This week, we will focus on the 1 OF THE 5 CHINESE ELEMENTS: EARTH. Let's think of the most challenging situations and the best way to establish boundaries. Let's identify patterns of what boundaries you feel are often crossed, the consequences that follow, and how to establish healthy boundaries in all areas of your life.

Imaginary lines are virtual guardrails

Personal boundaries are imaginary lines similar in formlessness and function as the invisible lines that separate countries, states and other masses of land and sea. Knowing where New York ends and Pennsylvania starts is useful and imaginary boundary lines are a convenient convention to that end. Knowing when you have entered into another country, with a whole new set of rules and language, is good to know. So mapmakers and gerrymandering politicians were kind enough to let us know with signs and signals when boundary lines are neared.

Establish mutual respect between two groups

Setting and practicing good boundaries can strengthen relationships and establish mutual respect between two groups. For example, if an old friend with pockets full addictive substances shows up, I need clear boundaries. I need to make that person aware that I walk a new path and my pockets are empty. This leads us to another important skill: communication. I need to explain clearly what my expectations are and what my corrective actions will entail. If I am interested in someone, I need to communicate that to the person of interest. Otherwise, they may just think we are friends and slap you when you make an advance out of the blue.

Spoken limitations and nonverbal clues

Personal boundaries are rules or limits that a person creates to identify permissible ways for other people to behave towards them. These personal boundaries may be spoken but are more often a combination of spoken limitations and nonverbal clues.

Nina Brown proposed four personal boundary types:

1. Soft - A person with soft boundaries merges with other people's boundaries. Someone with a soft boundary is easily a victim of psychological manipulation. 

2. Spongy - A person with spongy boundaries is like a combination of having soft and rigid boundaries. They permit less emotional contagion than soft boundaries but more than those with rigid. People with spongy boundaries are unsure of what to let in and what to keep out.

3. Rigid - A person with rigid boundaries is closed or walled off so nobody can get close either physically or emotionally. This is often the case if someone has been the victim of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. Rigid boundaries are usually based on a bad previous experience in a similar situation.

4. Flexible - This person decides what to let in and what to keep out and is resistant to emotional and psychological techniques aimed at manipulating them. They are difficult to exploit.

Much of boundary setting practice involves knowing yourself well enough to know what is and is not allowed. This week we will explore concrete examples of boundary making successes and errors. We will practice and role-play various situations and explore together how healthy boundaries can aid us in transforming and outlining

Call or contact Zen Recovery Path. Our community welcomes a fresh start. Recovery will be inspired by Clinical and Holistic Therapies such as; Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group, EMDR and Movie with Meaning therapies.
126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

(800) 759-1930

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

weekly theme :: MANIPULATION


Manipulation is Motivation

Author: Sifu Matthew Carver

The original definition of manipulating translates as “handful”

The idea of getting your hands on something so that you may influence it in some way or another. What is even more interesting is the antonym of manipulating. The opposite is “to leave alone.” To not touch something. To not affect it, whether it be an object or a human life. Hands off.

Bringing it together

When you explore it, what is life but manipulation? Getting your hands on people and things.
Connecting. If you knock on my treatment center door and I say “I'm busy!” I just manipulated you into leaving me alone, assuming you leave. However, if they say “come in” and you do, you have also been manipulated. If I ask you to go to dinner with me and you say “not in a million years” then you just refused my manipulation. If I ask you to join me to dance and you accept, I manipulated
you. Teaching a child how to learn the alphabet is strongly encouraged in school. Strongly
encouraging someone is manipulation.

Fact is, manipulation is not a “bad” word. It gets a very bad rap these days, but it needn’t.

Most, if not all, addicts and alcoholics are blue-ribbon, first prize manipulators. Just like the
knowledge of where pressure points on the body are located is not bad, in and of itself.
However, if you use that knowledge to dim mak (google death-touch) someone causing them
great harm, then yes it is bad. If we use that same knowledge to apply acupuncture to a patient
to heal, then it is good.

Positive “handful”

Manipulation is the same way. It can be used in a way that generates life-affirming principles and positive regard for people and life. Or, it can be used to terrorize, harm and force people into unwanted scenarios.

Not every tool is a hammer

A manipulation is a tool that many addicts have in abundance. Often times, it is wielded as a tool
for fulfilling our desires. A grasping sort of manipulation. Narrowly self-focused. Conversely,
with guidance, practice, and repetition, this ability to manipulate can become a vehicle for life-
affirming principles and generalized goodness. This is sort of manipulation is like an invitation.
An invitation to another person to join us in the spirit of play and personal growth.

Call or contact Zen Recovery Path. Our community welcomes a fresh start. Recovery will be inspired by Clinical and Holistic Therapies such as; Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group, EMDR and Movie with Meaning therapies.
126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

(800) 759-1930